Campus Life

WeatherSTEM station to help improve golfer safety at Penn State Golf Courses

Penn State Golf Courses recently installed a new WeatherSTEM station that will record data such as temperature, relative humidity and nearby lightning strikes, which will help course officials improve alerts for its golfers. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Halfway through a round of golf at the Penn State Golf Courses, dark clouds gather in the distance. In a few minutes, the sky could unleash soaking rain, dangerous lightning or perhaps nothing at all. But thanks to technology developed by Edward Mansouri, a Penn State alumnus, golfers will receive new and improved weather alerts from course officials.

Mansouri, a graduate of Penn State’s meteorology and geo-environmental engineering (now known as energy engineering) programs, understands that accurate, reliable forecasts could be the difference between golfers being caught on the course during a severe thunderstorm or waiting out a storm in the safety of the clubhouse. That’s why he recently installed a weather station at the courses with the help of a company he founded called WeatherSTEM.

Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, WeatherSTEM is a company that infuses live data collected by weather instruments, cloud cameras, agricultural probes and other sensors into K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum.

The weather stations collect data such as temperature, wind and relative humidity, which can be accessed by the public through WeatherSTEM’s online website or mobile app.

WeatherSTEM has already installed weather stations at five local locations: Beaver Stadium; The Arboretum at Penn State; Pasto Agricultural Museum, located at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Rock Springs; Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center in Huntingdon County; and Park Forest Elementary School in State College.

Importance of golfer safety

The new weather station, located on top of the Walker Clubhouse, will play a critical role in ensuring public safety, which is just as important on the golf course as it is at the University’s outdoor athletic events.

The new WeatherSTEM station is located on top of the Penn State Golf Courses' Walker Clubhouse. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

“For golfers, having access to this information is huge when they’re out on the course,” said Joe Hughes, general manager and head golf professional at Penn State Golf Courses. “Working with WeatherSTEM will allow us to ensure the health and safety of our golfers, which is one of our top priorities.”

Golf course staff previously gathered weather data from several apps, but with WeatherSTEM, Hughes said, collecting information and sending warnings will be both easier and quicker.

“We’re going to take advantage of WeatherSTEM’s triggers for dangerous weather,” said Hughes, “and we’re also going to promote the new system with our staff and with the golfers.”

WeatherSTEM applications

While the data his technology collects is useful, Mansouri said it’s only one small part of the WeatherSTEM experience.

“We’ve taken what our instruments gather and developed several applications,” he said.

One of these applications is an educational curriculum for children that is currently being used in Florida, where WeatherSTEM has installed its product in all of the state’s 67 counties. The curriculum teaches children about natural sciences and agriculture.

WeatherSTEM also has applications especially useful for groups such as the turf maintenance team at Penn State Golf Courses.

“We installed probes to collect data on soil moisture and temperature so they can keep the courses as healthy as possible during different weather patterns,” said Mansouri.

Still, golfers caught out on the course when severe weather comes into the area will just be thankful enough to have the advance warning.

Joe Hughes, left, general manager and head golf professional at Penn State Golf Courses, and Edward Mansouri, Penn State alumnus and founder of WeatherSTEM, hold the Penn State Golf Course's new WeatherSTEM station prior to installation. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated July 07, 2016